It was the legendary prolific writer and literary icon of global acclaim, late Chinua Achebe who succinctly captured the essence of this essay when he wrote a line in one of the most popular African titles, ‘Things Fall Apart’
According to him, “they have put a knife in the thing (bonds) that weld us together, things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold”. There is no better way to express the reality of the moment as captured in that book. Nothing can be truer.
Church (Christian religion) is the culture of the Europeans which they superimposed on our own through colonialism. It might sound very confrontational, unrealistic and meaningless especially to people who profess Christian religion to state that the reason we are where we are today in terms of development is the negative impact of church on the people who embraced its teaching.
Many are likely to dismiss this fact when they begin to reel out to you the numerous benefits of Christian religion when they draw attention to education, housing, technology, improved standard of living among others which are all the fall out of Christian religion. Deliberately or ignorantly they fail to balance the issue by recognizing the damage it also wrought on the people the effect of which lives with us till moment.
We are so blinded to the point that we forgot that if our culture was not tampered with by the whites or destroyed we could have evolved and excelled beyond the so called European civilization. Japan, China, India and some of the other Asian tigers who resisted their invasion are the ones rivaling them in the world as at today.
Japan and China are one of the leading technological countries globally and achieved the feat inwardly using their own religion, language (culture) and resources. Before Oyibo came there is nothing that they brought that we did not have even in abundance even though at very raw stages. Our technology was there (blacksmiths producing guns, cutlasses, etc). Just like theirs advanced we could have advanced ours.
Our minds through mental enslavements have been dulled to remember that Africa is the richest continent in the world. I am sure we don’t even remember that Africa is the cradle of civilization and to many it will be shocking to realize that blacks were here on earth before the white man who came just a few years back relatively speaking.
Do we also remember that Africa had great centers of learning in Egypt, Timbuktu and great wealth abound with abundance of gold owned by Kings like Mansa Musa who records still put as the richest man in the world that ever lived. By the way where is the University of Timbuktu, a great fountain of Knowledge where people all over the world came to sip from?
The digression was to give a back grounding to the fact the sorry state we find ourselves is caused by the religion we embraced, take it or leave it. If it was so wonderful why are we still suffering? Truth is they dislocated our original treasured pristine culture which had everything going for us through wrong indoctrination and wrong education which we imbibed till this day.
You may not want to hear this but that remains the truth and the truth that sets men free is the one they would not like to hear. Truth itself is bitter. Take it or leave it, we can never find our way out of the woods except we return to our culture. I can hear some question abandoned primitive culture? Remember culture is not static, goes through process of refinement. The Oyibo culture was once in a primitive state
Culture is the foundation of the structure of our existence. You cannot do a foundation on a certain material and begin to fit in entirely different material on top and expect to have the result you desire. That is our case. Take a look and observe how confused that we are practicing conflicting indigenous and foreign culture, shifting focus as it pleases us. Check it out Oyibo has abandoned the religion they brought to us. How many of them still go to church?
The church itself is split along different groups, orthodox, Pentecostal, spiritual etc with doctrinal differences practiced by the adherents. That is how they have infiltrated our homes bringing disunity among a people that once were united in love. In a family of four men for example, you can find them in different denominations proclaiming Christ and Bible as their authority and same time engaged in different doctrines and practices.
It is in the Christendom that we hear such labeling as believers, unbelievers, living church etc as if anyone has been pronounced dead. In the struggle or campaign for membership they haul missiles at each other poaching each others’ members exhibiting un-Christ like behavior. Families have been torn apart and destroyed as a result of religious teachings.
Everyone interprets the Bible to suit and serve his purpose while claiming to do so under the inspiration of God. Many have abandoned their homes because they are preached and prophesied to that there is an evil uncle who has taken their destiny and wishing them dead. Every failure in business even if it is caused by our negligence or lack of skill is suspected to be caused by a family member.
Reason many have become strangers in their own land is the threat of a certain ‘evil uncle’. Few that has the courage to get home demonize their uncles back home and shun according them the expected traditional hospitality for fear that any cash gift made out would be used to attack them spiritually. If they could fear this much you wonder the potency of their new found faith which gets them to discriminate even when they have been enjoined to share love.
The churches have not spared our cherished artifacts and effigies which they dub idols. The Oyibo from whom they learned to demonize these things would cart them away because they know their potency and aesthetic values. We cannot find any around because they have either been burnt by our people or hibernating in their museums overseas.
Christianity has so confused us that many of us are half Christians and half traditionalists enjoying divided loyalty. In one moment they are Christians and in another breath they are traditionalists. When they their prayers cannot work they resort to consulting the oracles.
The greatest culprits are our traditional rulers who still go to church to pray to the molten image of Virgin Mary but would refuse to sacrifice to the Gods who they label as idols. They remain the highest hypocrites ever.
In the past with our culture there was love. There was peace. There was trust. There was respect and no violation of each other. There was security. We bonded with each other. Life was simple and fun. We were free with each other. Our word was our bond then. Today, the reverse is the case.
The church has indeed widened the gap between us and torn to shreds the bond that held us together. We must return to the root if we must progress. Which country is on top today surviving on the culture of others?